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Sunday, April 11, 2010

AFDOC 14: Epiphany

Fourteen weeks have gone by - 25% of 2010 has come and gone and I'm about 70% finished with the first revision of AFDOC. This week brought an epiphany or apostrophe as Smee calls it in the Peter Pan movie staring Robin Williams - one of my favorite lines.

I had an apostrophe! I read three pages into a new book and out of nowhere came the answer to a question I've been laboring with from the very beginning of AFDOC: how to get the reader to realize in the first chapter that the book is more than a 50s family on a picnic. It is a serious retrospective on the changes WWII brought to the US, the impact that death of friends and family have on our psyches, and a true coming-of-age story for a naive twelve year-old-girl. I put down the book I'd just started, grabbed a pad and pencil, and rushed to get my ideas on the paper before I lost them.

Setting up a hook in a mystery or other plot driven book is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but setting up the hook in a first person, present tense, character driven book seemed almost impossible. Foreshadowing is essential, but neither the protagonist nor any of the other characters know what's going to happen, and I despise hokey set-ups, so my alternative was to use words - ah, beautiful words - and a few slight-of-hands to take the reader where I want her to go. Since no one but me has seen the revisions I can only hope at this point that I finally got there. I'll keep you posted.


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